A glorious vision of health and beauty with citrus spiced salmon…

Dearest darling reader,

How are you? How’s your day going? Ready for your 3 day weekend? Well of course you are…God bless the Bank Holiday in all it’s brief-respite-from-work-even-though-it’s-guaranteed-to-rain loveliness. We’re British and we’re used to doing things in a state of perpetual change when it comes to the weather because if we didn’t go out every day with sunglasses, an umbrella & a set of snowshoes in our bags, frankly, we’d never leave the house.

The sun appears to have departed these shores to be replaced in residency by a polar wind – pop up only I hope – so this post comes to you from the hands of a lady wearing several more layers than you’d hope for in May, who can currently be found in that slightly overwhelmed, definitely overfed state that arises post-birthday. Or more accurately, post-week-long-and-eating-out-every-day-birthday celebrations.

I love it, I love any excuse to go and eat out and normally J and I don’t have to look very far to find one.

It’s someone’s birthday? Great!

You had an excellent ,meeting at work? Ace!

Oh look, it’s Tuesday? Woo-hoo!

The plus side of all this feasting is that you get to travel the world on your plate without the need for excess baggage fees or learning to sleep upright – I’ve been to India at Dishoom, Italy via Polpo, Britain thanks to the Soho Hotel, Peru through Lima and Japan by way of Shackfuyu this week alone – but the downside is the mysterious & unfathomable shrinking of one’s waistband followed by a general feeling of utter lethargy and the craving for something fresh, healthy & reinvigorating.

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This is where today’s delightfully cheeky little dish comes in – something that you can eat with sheer gusto knowing that it’s every bit as good for you as it tastes. Luscious, fat-on-your-fork flakes of salmon are smothered with a marinade that combines a citrus kick with the faintest hint of floral and served alongside a juicy pineapple salsa, coconut oil roasted sweet potato half moons, sweet & nutty red rice and creamy hunks of avocado, it’s the perfect dish for getting back on the culinary straight and narrow…

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Indulging in a swoonsome slice of London’s finest birthday afternoon tea…

Afternoon tea. Tricky thing isn’t it? Not so much the actual consumption because that, after years of full on, fine china training, I’m quite au fait with. Tiny sandwiches, petite cakes, warm scones and teacups pillaged from Downton? Yep. Totally on board with all of that.

No, the tricky thing is finding good afternoon tea, something that’s worthy of your hard earned pennies & treasured free time. A brisk Googling of ‘afternoon tea in London’ will see nearly 25 million hits pop up faster than you can ask ‘one lump or two?’ so when my gorgeous sister V and I were looking for somewhere suitably fabulous but not completely wallet draining to celebrate my birthday, the choice was vast and the word ‘overwhelming’ used on more than one occasion.

Luckily, I can report back that there is indeed a place out there that will treat you like a queen and cater to every one of your champagne tastes but on your lemonade budget…the Soho Hotel. Centrally located off Dean Street, this hotel is one of eight in the Firmdale’s London family and while it’s a mere tiptoe away from the relentless Soho hustle, stepping inside feels like entering the sanctuary you didn’t know you needed until that very minute.

If your idea of heaven is patisserie on a plate, get ready to enter the promised land…

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Avocado, pistachio & dark chocolate ice-cream made the Udderlicious way…

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Desert island foods.

Everyone’s got them. One of mine – possibly the least practical choice ever assuming the island in question is of the tropically lush variety – is ice-cream. I have always loved it and that won’t ever change. I love sinking a spoon in when it’s at that perfectly soft, yielding texture, feeling the flavours both traditional & off the wall melt on my tongue and just enjoying the sheer delight that comes from eating it. Isn’t that the purpose of food? To give pleasure? I’m pretty sure you agree because those people who see food as fuel and nothing more? They don’t read food blogs. They’re too busy shoveling food in without a single thought as to whether or not they want to eat it or are even enjoying it and honestly, who ever felt worse after ice-cream? It’s literally one of the happiest foods there is.

When J & I moved to Islington, one of the things that we quickly became enamoured with was the choice of independent businesses in the area; from the hardware store that would be perfectly at home in any white-picket-fenced-small-town to the butchers whose slabs of gorgeously marbled meat make you want to press your face up longingly against the window to the coffeeshop staff who work tirelessly to provide a caffeinated buzz and a smile to every one of their Apple toting patrons, not only do we love the choices that we have on our doorstep, we also really value & feel proud of the community – our community – that supports and encourages them.

One in particular took up residence in a small corner of my heart from the first visit – Udderlicious, a petite but perfectly formed ice-cream parlour on Upper Street.

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I know…ice-cream ‘parlour’? It’s as wonderfully old-fashioned a word as you could ever delight in using and conjures up daydreams of a scoop of something sweet like cherry pie, rum & raisin or lemon sherbet but it’s a splendid word for Udderlicious.

There’s a swing chair perfect for snuggling up with your sweetheart in, glass jars of sprinkles that seem to have fallen from the tip of the latest rainbow and creamy tin milk jugs in the window full of cotton candy blossoms that invite in the very essence of spring, even if April showers softly dapple the windows outside.

As someone who has recently moved into the food industry, I’m constantly hunting for new ways to increase my food knowledge. I also like supporting local companies where the plunge has been taken by someone to do what they love and to spend their days in the creative way they may have only imagined before and this is why when I reached out to Raj and Raj, owners of Udderlicious, I was thrilled to be invited to spend some time with them, learning how they make ice-cream, giving it a go myself and seeing a tiny bit of what goes into turning something delicious into something commercially successful. Read More